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Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football Hardcover – November 19, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (November 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316196797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316196796
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Dawidoff, author of a fine biography of baseball catcher and international spy Moe Berg (The Catcher Was a Spy, 1994), here turns to the 2011 New York Jets, who gave him apparently unfettered access to virtually every aspect of the team’s day-to-day operations, from the February scouting “combine” of collegiate talent, through the May draft of college players, the torturous preseason of practices and games, and, finally, to the entire 16-game, regular season schedule and subsequent coaches’ postmortem. Head coach Rex Ryan and his staff receive the primary focus, and it’s hard not to be impressed by the all-consuming effort they put into coaxing superhuman performances out of their gifted but often mercurial players and also by how narrow the differences are that divide winners from losers in the unsparing, ferociously competitive NFL. The Jets, who’d come just one win shy of reaching the Super Bowl in both 2009 and 2010, lost their magic in 2011, falling to 8–8 and out of playoff contention, Dawidoff recording every excruciating moment of the team’s slide from inside the Jets’ facility. This is a superlative insider’s portrait of one NFL team (reminiscent of John Feinstein’s similar Next Man Up: A Year behind the Lines, 2005, about the Baltimore Ravens), and it’s accessible to casual fans and irresistible to NFL geeks. --Alan Moores

Review

"An instant classic of the genre.... A triumph... of immersion and portraiture." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Dawidoff is a crack writer, saturating the book with the best of a year's worth of anecdotes and lacing it with the backgrounds of coaches and players with an intimacy that begs the question how he got all this sharp and often moving material.... Dawidoff has a sure hand with the nature of passion, the rancor and weeping joy that characterizes every season in the most popular sport in the country. Insightful, immediate sportswriting. Readers will feel every bit of the team's frustration and elation." -- Kirkus (starred review)

"This is a superlative insider's portrait of one NFL team (reminiscent of John Feinstein's similar Next Man Up: A Year behind the Lines (2005), about the Baltimore Ravens), and it's accessible to casual fans and irresistible to NFL geeks." -- Booklist (starred review)

"A riveting case study." -- New York Times Book Review, "Editor's Choice"

"Collision Low Crossers is a book that I would highly recommend not just for lovers of sports writing, but for lovers of intelligent writing that sheds new light on something so universal in the average American's life that the average American might never notice. This is a wonderful book by a talented writer I hope to read more from in the future." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"May be the best book I've ever read about football." -- Mike Pesca, NPR's All Things Considered

"Entirely suspenseful, even when one knows how it will turn out.... Dawidoff has established a reputation as one of the best chroniclers of sports in American life.... A deeply nuanced look at an organization -- a business -- with characters who leap off the page." -- The Chicago Tribune, "Editor's Choice"

"An unusually smart and revealing (and often funny) look at the quirky subculture of pro football." -- Tom Perrotta

"Incredibly engaging and gripping.... What makes Collision Low Crossers a transcendental read is how thoughtful and thorough a guide Dawidoff becomes." -- Kirkus Reviews

"A rare behind-the-scenes look at what makes a football organization tick." -- The Washington Post

"Collision Low Crossers is the best book ever written about football and I'm in awe." -- Wright Thompson, Senior Writer, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine

"On every significant American subject there are only a handful of really good books, and Collision Low Crossers is one of the best books ever written about sports. Dawidoff takes you into a closed world of interesting men who are obsessed with how to perfect the art of football. The book is closely and boldly observed, frankly reported, ferociously written with both humor and humanity; it teems with wonderful lines, rich and vivid passages. The end result is what all coaches long for, the magical pleasure of watching a perfectly managed game that ends in a great victory." -- Thomas Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Man Who Kept The Secrets and The Killing of Crazy Horse

"It is rare indeed that any writer can infiltrate any sports team so thoroughly as Nicholas Dawidoff has done in Collision Low Crossers. His access, though, is but the foundation of this sports tour du force, for his year in the belly of the New York Jets is so informed with insight and sensitivity alike that it reveals to us not just the season's secrets of one team, but the complicated attractions that trap men in football's mean clutches." -- Frank Deford, commentator, Morning Edition, and author of Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter

"Nicholas Dawidoff shows us everything television doesn't. By the time I finished Collision Low Crossers, I realized that what happens on the field is only a tiny fraction of a football season-and hardly the most interesting. It was a huge pleasure to be led behind the scenes by a writer with such subtlety, wit, and style." -- Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down and At Large and At Small

"I loved Collision Low Crossers--it's revealing, engrossing, extremely funny, and about as close as you can come to the NFL without getting a concussion. With expert reporting and an enviably light touch, Dawidoff shows the warm heart beating inside the most dangerous game." -- Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding

"An exceptionally detailed description of how the coaches of an NFL team prepare for and survive a season that turns out to be a disappointment.... Full of intriguing, creatively chronicled little moments." -- Bill Littlefield, WBUR's "Only A Game"

"A startling, year-long, day-in-and-day-out tale of large men and obsessive, outsized personalities. Nicholas Dawidoff is a committed watcher and listener who takes Plimpton's participatory impulse and applies it in his own artful way, creating an entirely original - and thoroughly grand - portrait of an NFL team. Before Collision Low Crossers, it's now quite clear to me, I didn't really understand pro football at all." -- Ted Conover, author of Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing and Rolling Nowhere

"Unputdownable.... Whatever your interest, be it in sports, business, or even politics, Collision Low Crossers is a great read. You won't be disappointed." -- Forbes

"Insightful and funny, this is a must read for any sports fan." -- Susanne Jaffe, creative director, Thurber House, for The Columbus Dispatch

"A fascinating, incisive look at football, written in prose that soars like a perfect pass." -- Shelf Awareness, "The Best Books of 2013"

"A quality piece of embedded analytical journalism relayed with warmth and insight." -- Library Journal

"In the hands of a skillful observer such as Dawidoff, the volatile personalities and intricacies of running a professional football team become both accessible and understandable." -- The Virginia Quarterly

"Superb.... Excellent stuff.... Dawidoff is as good as they come." -- Newsday

Customer Reviews

Very interesting and entertaining, and very well written.
DAS323
Some might think that this book is a niche book for Jet fans, but I was astounded by how great it illustrated the life inside an NFL football team.
David M Rubin
I've read Feinstein's 'Next Man Up' and enjoyed that as well, so I can recommend this book to casual readers and general football fans.
Ben Lundquist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Emily Bazelon on November 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book fast because I was completely absorbed in the world Nicky Dawidoff created and the characters who inhabit it, especially the coaches. I really don't know much about football, but I'm a big Friday Night Lights fan, and this book reminded me why. loved the organizational intimacy and the grind of it all. And wow is it a grind to be an NFL coach. For the players, there's the pain and difficulty, but also the amazing moments of lift off. Dawidoff manages to be both humane and honest about people he spent a huge amount of time with and clearly cares about.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David M Rubin on November 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me say that I bought this book because I am a football junkie first and a Jets fan second. Some might think that this book is a niche book for Jet fans, but I was astounded by how great it illustrated the life inside an NFL football team. Rex is certainly a colorful character, but what the book really captures is the camraderie among coaches and players, the rivalries between offense and defense, and the fleeting moment during the season that these guys live in the foxhole together before many players get hurt, get released, move on. And that's just the players. The coaches all know that this moment in time will not last. They spend incredible hours together as a fraternity, knowing that they might be in a different city or unemployed next year.

For anyone who has dreamed of what a football life would look like, you should read this book. You can hate the Jets but still love this book. A must-have for sports/football junkies.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ben Lundquist on November 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I watch Rex Ryan press conferences daily on the Jets website. I attended 2 of the games in this season. I don't watch a lot of other football games besides the Jets games. For me this book seems like an almost impossible confluence. The detailed account of the inside characters in the drama i've so diligently followed is a literary treasure that I will personally cherise forever.

I've read Feinstein's 'Next Man Up' and enjoyed that as well, so I can recommend this book to casual readers and general football fans. I'll say it again, for Jets fans this is an absolute can't miss.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jbenny on February 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dawidoff followed the New York Jets for a year, from the draft to their eventual disappointing end of the season. He did a good job capturing many of the intricacies that go into the success for failure of a team.

I do have a couple of complaints, the first being that author clearly wrote this book with either a ridiculous thesaurus, or had a bet with someone that he could fill this book with tremendous amounts of needless words and descriptions. Second, it became clear that the author established stronger bonds with the members of the Jets defense, and I felt that the booked lacked because of it. A better balance with the offense would have made for a stronger work.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Larson on December 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fantastic Book

Things that interested me

1) I wasn't aware how hard the coaches worked to build a plan that used the players that were available, against an opponents players that were available. It was also interesting how "looks" were put together for one specific point in a game or to show a team and then use against them later in the year.

2) Coaching is very interesting work - You have to blend a creative desire to build the perfect plan with a deft personal touch to get the players to buy into and execute said plan.

3) How important building and keeping the "team" spirit is to thriving as the season progresses. This despite the fact that the players are really just interchangeable parts in a machine. It doesn't mean that the coaches don't think highly of people and want them to do well but in the end you have to win the game.

4) The tone was not snarky or disrespectful but put me in the situation so I could see it and create my own thoughts.

I appreciate the job Mr. Dawidoff did to give me an experience I would not have had otherwise. This is why I love to read.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By New England Man on November 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is that rarest of sports book, which elevates its subject matter to much more than just a book about sports. Dawidoff worked for Sports Illustrated, at one point, but has since gone on to write about everything from from spies, to country music, to schizophrenia for publications like the New Yorker. In this book, he brings the players and the coaches on the Jets to life, making us care about -- not just whether they win or lose -- but about their personal lives, disappointments, and aspirations. He creates an intimacy with his subjects that seem so unlikely, if not impossible, in this era when PR men always seem to handle the press and hold them at bay. This book is bound to be one the greatest sports books of all time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Ammons on October 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Most people considering whether to read this book or not will be habitual football fans with a desire to gain a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the game.

I would recommend this book enthusiastically to any reader with such motivations. I felt I understood much more about how the NFL works after reading it. Despite giving it a-lot of thought, I found next to nothing that I did not like about the book.

Dawidoff follows the Jets for about a year and observes with empathy and astuteness. More focus is put on the lives and activities of the football coaches than on the players. (There is of course plenty of attention to numerous Jets players.) Not much focus is spent on the question of what distinguishes great from mediocre players, though there is insight to be gained on this question also.

I felt I gained a rich understanding of what football players and coaches do the other 6 days of the week, as well as what is done during off season. This has enriched my enjoyment of watching football.

For the most part Dawidoff leaves the reader to draw the necessary conclusions from his observations. Thankfully Dawidoff does not play the role of an armchair football theorist. Thoughtful readers however will deepen their understanding of such theoretical football questions however.

There is much to note for readers with an interest in sociology, psychology, organizational management, and the like. However a fair understanding of football is necessary to enjoy and really understand the book.

The reader is assumed to have a fair understanding of how football is played. The rules of the game are not explained. Readers should probably avoid this book if they cannot understand most of what football announcers discuss between plays.
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